Embrace the Inverse square Law!

To some, the science of cinematography is like that pile of peas on your plate. You know they're healthy - but you rarely go there first. Blame it on teachers. It’s an art to make complicated concepts fun, accessible and useful. In workshops or in the classroom, I teach the inverse square law in reverse by attempting to light a room with several low wattage instruments. In short order, it’s obvious that the lights are too close for a wide shot, plus the fall off and multiple shadows are unacceptable. Solution: larger lights placed farther away, preferably off the set completely. Suddenly, there’s more room on the set for the actors to roam about and many more options for camera placement, grip nets and flags. Here’s a basic example:

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